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Banks and fintech backing climate change efforts

New Zealand urgently needs to launch a green fintech industry with government and industry working together to see how fintech can tackle climate change, a leading Kiwi fintech expert says.

James Brown, Fintech NZ’s general manager just back from Brexit banking talks in London, says the world economy is slowing and as New Zealand is on the verge of leaping into fintech it has a huge opportunity.

“Our NZ fintech and trade delegation in London are already preparing a report which will highlight what we think needs to go into the post-Brexit free trade agreement with the UK to provide an easy gateway to doing business across all things fintech,” Brown says.

“I don’t see our primary industry being the driver of economic growth for NZ. People just aren’t going into farming at the same rate we once did.

“There is huge pressure on farmers around the impact to the environment. Younger generations are happy to consider meat alternatives or just change their diet all together.

“We should be looking to capitalise on the relationships we have with the likes of the UK and Singapore for economic expansion, making it easy to set a business up in a new jurisdiction, accessing capital and accessing talent but just for a period of time while the green fintech product or solution is being built.

”FintechNZ wants to see more committed conversations around green fintech and create a positive government and industry working group to see how fintech can solve a sustainable financial services sector and tackle climate change.

“Green fintech can leverage New Zealand into a greener economy more connected to help climate change. FintechNZ wants Kiwi firms to develop platforms to analyse the environmental impact of investments.”

There is a new and growing focus on investing which incorporates environmental, social and governance concerns (ESG) and this area of the industry looks set to grow further.

ESG is a term that is often used interchangeably with sustainable investing, socially responsible investing, and impact investing, although all are subtly different.

For many the rise of ESG is linked to more environmental conscious decision making and a more ethical approach to capitalism, Brown says.

“As we enter the largest intergenerational wealth transfer ever from baby boomers to millennials, it is likely that the wealth management sectors’ new client base will think about their investments differently.

“We need financial products that are explicitly green investments where ESG factors contribute to the investment decision.

“We would love the government to support innovative firms that are looking to bring services to market that will aid NZ’s conversion to a low-carbon economy which will support the growing ESG ecosystem.

“Tech has engulfed the world at a dramatically fast rate. Technology has become a necessity, but it should not present any issues for the wellbeing of our planet,” Brown says.

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